Greetings and Peace, all
The idea is to build propane powered appliances in Afghanistan. Refrigerators would be a good start, but chest freezers, air conditioners, and other appliances could follow.
Why this idea? Electricity is not currently reliable/available in all places in Afghanistan--but propane is abundant and inexpensive. Refrigeration will decrease waste and increase food safety. It will create jobs and allow more business. Building in Afghanistan will create jobs and manufacture affordable appliances close to the customers. Even though it is intended that this business would pay more than the typical wage expected for this type of business in Afghanistan, even doubling the going rate will cost far less to manufacture locally than it would to build and ship from elsewhere.
If memory serves, the going price for a "standard" fridge in Afghanistan is about $360 US. With economies of scale, a dedicated manufacturing plant in Kabul could probably turn out finished products for less than $300 US. There are about 30 million people living in Afghanistan. If just 1% of the population buys a fridge each year, that is 300,000 customers! With a $50 markup per unit, a factory costing 5 million US dollars could return $15 million each year after all costs! Sell more, make more.In order to combat corruption from interfering with business, I propose a twofold strategy.
1. Sell partnership in the business to officials who might otherwise interfere. If they buy into the business, they won't interfere because it will destroy their earnings--and draw the ire of other (potentially powerful) investors.
2. The business should donate generously through religious institutions. If a politician interferes (and thus disrupts the donations) the religious institutions would create such an outcry that not even the highest politicians in the land could withstand it.In order for the business to be secure, I propose the following strategy:
1. The business should be located in a more secure area, such as Kabul. This is also necessary for the workforce and for the availability of electricity.
2. The workers will be paid through an Islamic bank--not in cash at the factory. The bank will create many new accounts through the employees, and will likely own part of the factory. The bank will provide interest free loans to qualified customers to buy appliances--the customer pays a little money up front for the appliance (they take the appliance home), and pay a little money each week or month until the appliance is paid for in full. As the business does well, the bank will also do well. Here is an example: the bank owns 1/5 of the business. Many would-be customers can't afford to outright buy a $360 fridge. The bank loans (with no interest!!!) $310 (the buyer paid $50 down) and the buyer pays the bank back $10 a week to buy the fridge. More refrigerators are sold. The bank has not only created a giant customer base, but it has also made a lot of money off of the appliances--not off of servicing loans/interest. It is a win/win situation that doesn't take advantage of anyone.
3. The business will be owned and operated by Afghans, not foreigners. It would only exacerbate security problems for, say, an American to run the show.
Whoever runs it has to live locally anyway.Problems (technical and otherwise):
1. How much will altitude effect refrigeration? (Research)
2. How to set up the factory to transition to make electrical appliances if ISA the electrical system in Afghanistan improves. (Plan ahead and use experts)
3. How to protect the investors if the government nationalizes the business. (Make the money back fast!)
4. Which products first and how much? Can the factory meet demand? If not, what about competition?
5. How many investors, and for how much?Benefits of this idea:
1. It creates jobs. Building the factory, supplying the factory (many small businesses would be created), transporting raw and finished goods to and from the factory, manufacturing the appliances, selling the appliances, repairing the appliances, providing fuel for the appliances, as well as the new businesses that the appliances would make available (restaurant, grocer, etc).
2. It produces a needed product.
3. It legitimately accumulates wealth that could be used for other beneficial projects. A plant manufacturing ammonia would be an excellent start (fertilizer for farms, industrial explosive for mining, raw materials for other processes). A business creating fine marble products would be another idea. Afghanistan has some of the world's finest marble--but a lot of it is made into bulk inexpensive products. With investment, statues, fireplace mantles and a plethora of other products could be manufactured and marketed worldwide.
Examples of marble products and retail prices: http://www.italianmarble.com/
4. It helps to stabilize the financial structure in ways other than job creation. As the banks grow in legitimacy, they can help start other businesses.Other thoughts:
Experts (probably will be non-Afghan) should plan the factory and help it get set up.
There are other neighboring countries that could manufacture--but it would help Afghanistan the most to do it locally.
The supply situation will solve itself. People WILL beat a path to sell materials to the manufacturing plant. If copper coils are used, people will start making copper coils if the factory will buy them.
Land in Afghanistan is very expensive to buy--not very expensive to lease.
Until my family can raise money, I can do nothing except propose an idea, wait patiently, and refine a plan. Then again, I'm not in love with money. If anyone can use this idea--KEEPING WITH THE DEEN, may ALLAH see fit to grant what is best! Use the idea.
Please comment. If you are an Afghan, or from Afghanistan and interested in helping, your comments are especially desired.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.